Video Analysis: Kyle Lowry in the Pick ‘n Roll (Synergy)

Kyle Lowry’s ability to play pick ‘n roll is under the microscope.

Kyle Lowry will be the starting point guard. JoVal will be the starting center. JoVal likes to run the pick ‘n roll. Kyle Lowry better know how to run the pick ‘n roll (and pop). Both major Raptors big men, Bargnani and JoVal, have been known to feed off this play. JoVal’s offensive game is predicated on rolling to the rim after setting screens near the elbow, and Bargnani’s outside shots have started to originate from being involved in the play, rather than spotting up. Calderon, despite his faults, has been an excellent pick ‘n roll player who has shown that he doesn’t need much time to adapt to his teammates and find out what makes them tick in these situations; Exhibit A is his understanding with Amir Johnson, and there are examples where he’s even blended well with scrubs like Aaron Gray.

Lowry’s introduction to the team will bring the defense and tenacity that has been lacking at the PG position, but he’s got some big shoes to fill in getting on the same page with his teammates, and running the pick ‘n roll goes a long way for that to happen. Not to mention that a point guard’s decision making, shot selection, is too often highlighted in these situations, and it is in these sequences that one forms a large part of their opinion of a player.

Let me ramble no more, here’s what he’s been upto:

As you can see, not surprisingly, he’s in the “PnR as ball handler” role a lot, so let’s take a look at a slice:


  1. Oh boy, Landry Fields’ girlfriend is hot.
  2. The explosiveness is evident, he has that controlled burst that can break a possession open, but passing is rare.
  3. The shot selection at times makes you a little nervous, because every time a PG misses a step-back three he gets dirty looks from everyone on the court.
  4. You can tell that he’s exclusively looking for the foul on some of these possessions.
  5. Can get into trouble by doing too much, usually by thinking he can get past defenders who are well set.
  6. Doesn’t waste time initiating action, does whatever he has to do quickly, but again, passing is a bit rare.
  7. No hesitation on his drives and is not scared of contact, in fact, looks to initiate it with body.
  8. The vision when he’s deep into his drives is lacking, has trouble kicking back out of the paint.
  9. Couldn’t see any bounce passes in tight quarters, he’s going to be required to make those to our big men.
  10. Constantly surprises defenders with his burst, is comfortable going either way off high screen (prefers right)

I would’ve liked to have seen more passes in this video, and having watched the larger 1 hour video, it’s something that’s going to have to improve because he’s certainly a shoot-first guy. Again, how much of this is due to Houston’s offense and how much of it is Lowry himself remains to be seen.

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